It’s the easiest thing to plan an Indian vegan meal because most of our traditional foods are already vegan by default. What’s important to remember is that the amounts of salad/cucumber, vegetables, and pulses should each be at least 25% of the plate. To make it easy:
Salad ¼ plate
Vegetables ¼ plate
Pulses/legumes ¼ plate
Rice/Roti ¼ plate
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you start on a whole plant food diet and especially if you add a lot of raw foods like green smoothies, fruits and salads, make sure you check your blood sugar levels and other parameters every day as you will probably need to reduce medication if you are on any.
So here’s a sample plan to get you started:
For a beverage, replace the regular tea with black tea or better still green tea. Tea with oat milk, soya milk, cashew milk or coconut milk is a great start to transition, too. A better warm drink to have in the morning or any time of day for that matter is a herbal infusion. Good options are pudina (mint), saunf (fennel), elaichi (cardamom), adrak (ginger), kali miri (black peppercorns), lemongrass, tulsi (basil), lemon, etc. Of course if you can, you should replace this with fruits or a green smoothie. The benefits of a green smoothie cannot be praised enough. Green smoothies are instrumental in reversing lifestyle diseases. So, if you incorporate them into your diet, make sure you are checking your blood sugar levels every day so you’re not taking unnecessary medication.
Poha, upma, idli, dosa, uttapam, stuffed parathas, moong or besan chillas, or any of the many breakfast dishes given in the recipe section. If you’re a busy person and are usually rushed in the mornings, it helps to prepare for the breakfast dish the previous night and keep it ready in the fridge. For instance, you could chop the vegetables or roast the semolina and keep it ready. You can also roast and temper the vegetables or semolina the night before. Of course eating fresh cut fruit and vegetables is always best.
Any sabji (lady finger, potato, leafy green vegetable)
Some suggestions: salads, kachumbar, raitas made with vegan dahi, sprouts, sprout salads or chaat, moong/tur/urad etc dal or other pulses like rajma, chhole, etc, brown rice, or rotis made with whole grains or millets. You could also have khichdi, idli, dosa, uttapam, stuffed parathas, etc. too.
Choose any from the many given in the recipe section
Fruit and four or five unsalted and unroasted nuts, fruit smoothies made with a fruit and coconut milk, chaat made with sprouts/pulses, aalu chaat, salads with peanuts and grated coconut, dhokla, khakra, bhel or paani puri, whole roti rolls stuffed with tomatoes, cucumber and green chutney, etc. If you are on a disease reversal diet, it’s best not to have too many fat containing ingredients like nuts, seeds, coconut, and even peanuts, which is a legume.
Suggestions are as for lunch.
Dessert (Only Once a Week if You Want to Stay Fit and Trim!)
Choose from the many given in the recipe section. Most desserts contain nuts, seeds and other ingredients that can hamper disease reversal. Please consult a plant based doctor for more information.
It’s a good idea to make it a habit to eat a lot of fruit in a day. In fact, if you can start your day with a green smoothie or fruits, you’ll see the benefit in just a few days. Fruits are our best food as they have so many nutrients that our body needs. Green smoothies are not an Indian dish but we’ve included them in the recipes because they’re so good for health. The chlorophyll in the raw greens is one of the most important nutrients our bodies need. So, do include raw greens in your meals whenever possible. A good way to do this is also to include microgreens in your salads.
It may not be easy to switch to cashew, soya, or coconut milk as we’re so used to the taste of dairy milk. Making masala chai instead of the regular tea helps. Just use a little more masala than you would normally use so the flavor of the soya or coconut is masked. It also helps if you can have light black tea with lemon juice instead of tea with milk. It’s delicious and much better on the digestive system too.
Some easy tips to get started on a vegan diet to improve your health and stay away from vegan junk food that can easily lead to lifestyle diseases too: